Estevan – While she’ll likely refuse to take credit for it, Trisha Meshke definitely deserves that credit as the unsung hero for being the glue that kept the organization of the Regina Rally Against the Carbon Tax convoy together.
That’s because it was her phone number from the get-go that was receiving all the phone calls and texts for registrations coming in. That phone, as well as several others, were all ringing off the hook on April 3, the day before the convoy was about to roll.
Talking to her in her office at KRJ Custom Fabricating at 4:20 p.m., Pipeline Newsasked her what the day has been like.
“Insane!” was the response. “Today has been insane. It’s non-stop. I have two lines on the office phone. I have my cellphone. I have Ken’s phone, and they’re ringing off the hook. Text messages, emails, calls. It’s not stopping.
“Yesterday was actually the calm before the storm. I had time to get caught up with all the registrations. Today, it is overly busy, which is a good thing – see there’s another call right now. And there’s a call on another line.”
She had to pause for a minute as more calls came in. She dutifully entered them into her spreadsheet. By that point, the running total was 645. It would grow to nearly 700 the next day.
Asked how many calls came in on April 3, she said, “Over 100. Over 100, for sure. If they’re not registering, they’re calling, asking questions, and I’m referring them back to our Twitter and Facebook accounts.”
She lifted up her phone, and it indicated 13 texts of unknown names that she had not been able to respond to yet. “They started as early as 7:30 this morning. I’ve been calling them back. These are new ones,” Meshke said. “As recent as 4:22, 3:47, 3:29.”
“I’ve had calls at six in the morning, saying, ‘Well, I’m just wondering what the plan is. I might not be able to make it. I’m calving,’ Then why are you calling me at six in the morning if you’re calving?”
Asked what the mix was of agriculture versus oil participation, she said, “I think it’s higher agriculture.”
“I think it’s been higher agriculture all along. I was keeping track at the beginning, but it got too busy. I would say 60/40,” Meshke said.
Other organizers credited one of the big stories of the week for boosting late registrations. NDP Leader Ryan Meili took a run at rally organizer Jason LeBlanc in question period on April 1, saying he was associated with the yellow vest movement. (LeBlanc, in fact, had been the one in the early organizational meeting to stress “Yellow vests prohibited.”)
Meili’s action riled a lot of other farmers, as LeBlanc is a well-known farmer and auctioneer. A column in Pipeline News in response had 12,700 views on April 2, and CJME/CKOM radio host John Gormley rode that issue all week long, getting LeBlanc on the air as the convoy was rolling into the city. Several organizers told Pipeline News that was the best publicity, and it was free. (LeBlanc’s ovation at the rally was louder that that for the premier).
Meili’s assertions that this was a yellow vest event without the yellow vests got under Meshke’s skin. She said she had to get away from Twitter and Facebook. “I can’t be a keyboard warrior right now,” she noted, as she was focused on the registrations.
At the rally, Meshke reported that her phone continued to ring that morning as the convoy was coming together. People still wanted to register. At that point, she told them just to show up and join at the end.